MESOP : Erdogan calls on U.S. to choose between Turkey or Syrian Kurds

AFP – 7 Feb 2016 – ISTANBUL,— Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed anger over a US official’s visit to a Kurdish militia group in Syrian Kurdistan, urging Washington to choose between Turkey and the “terrorists” there. A delegation including senior US diplomat Brett McGurk, special envoy to an international coalition fighting IS in Syria and Iraq, last week met Kurdish officials and members of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) of Syrian Kurdistan, a powerful militia that is in control of .The meetings come after the YPG’s political wing, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), was excluded from new peace talks in Geneva being organised by the UN. Ankara had threatened to boycott the talks if PYD was invited. “He visits Kobani at the time of the Geneva talks and is awarded a plaque by a so-called YPG general?” Erdogan told reporters on his plane returning from a trip to Latin America and to Senegal.

“How can we trust [you]?” Erdogan said.“Is it me who is your partner or the terrorists in Kobani?”

His comments were carried by Turkish media on Sunday.Ankara considers the PYD and YPG to be affiliates of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged an armed insurgency in Turkey, while Syria’s opposition accuses them of being too close to the regime in Damascus. But the coalition has worked closely with the YPG since it launched air strikes in Syria in September 2014, expanding a campaign that began in Iraq a month earlier.“Do you accept the PKK as a terrorist organisation? Then why don’t you list the PYD and the YPG as a terrorist organisations, too?” Erdogan asked on the plane.